Humvee tragedy brings soldiers together
Iraqis persevere to recover dead Americans
By Steve Fainaru
BALAD, Iraq - When the Iraqi troops arrived that morning, three American servicemen lay dead at the bottom of the Isaki Canal.
The body of a fourth, Sgt. Rene Knox Jr., 22, had been recovered from a submerged Humvee. Patrolling without headlights around 4:30 a.m., Knox had overshot a right turn. His vehicle tumbled down a concrete embankment and settled upside down in the frigid water.
During the harrowing day-long mission to recover the bodies of the Humvee's three occupants on Feb. 13, an Air Force firefighter also drowned. Five U.S. soldiers were treated for hypothermia. For five hours, three Navy SEAL divers searched the canal before their tanks ran out of oxygen.
I went to school with Phil Poteet at Texas Tech. I hate to see his name referenced this way. But, there is some hope here. I think we're making progress. If the Iraqi Army soldiers were willing to risk their lives in this way, then that's good news. But, I still hate to see soldiers go out like this.